RCL Exclusive

18 Women On the Male Workplace Behaviors They Hate

Memo: Handsiness and “he-peating” made the list.

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The workplace is a microcosm of society. You get the best and worst of people, typically in an enclosed, stressful environment.

You also get a lot of men behaving badly, as has been made abundantly clear in recent months (or years, or decades).

So today, let’s shut up and listen: to 18 women, all of whom we asked, “What’s one thing you wish men would stop doing in the workplace?”

Their answers range from small, annoying microaggressions to more malicious and systemic behaviors.


“[They] leave me out of small-talk conversations because they assume I don’t know what they’re talking about — politics, sports, music, entertainment, comedy, film, you name it. Men will converse on said topics without any attempt to ask for my opinion or bring me into the conversation. Even if I don’t know the score of last night’s game, I would like to be treated like I might!”

— Chelsea, 27, Client Success Manager

“I hate when men in my office say ‘you wouldn’t understand’ just because I’m a woman. It happens more when I’m in a room of guys and they are joking around about something.”
— Jennifer, 29, Account Manager

Save ten years ago when my boss tried to kiss me in my annual review, I’m fortunate enough to have always worked with phenomenal men. These days, the thing I wish fellas would stop doing is getting paid more than me for doing the same damn work. I don’t think it’s too much to ask. Don’t touch me and equal pay. Bar’s pretty low, people.
— Otto, 37, Client Management

“Harassment in the workplace is often more than what meets the eye. Sometimes, it’s a drunk guy grabbing your ass at an industry conference, and other times it’s a subtle grazing of the lower back while moving past someone behind the bar. But there is never any valid reason to physically touch a person in the workplace beyond a professional gesture, like a handshake. What you might perceive as meaningless or friendly might violate someone’s personal space or comfort zone, so it’s best to err on the side of caution. Even the smallest physical touch can seem like a declaration of territory or dominance, even if you genuinely meant no harm. This applies to every workplace or scenario, whether it’s a bar or an office or a work trip; it applies to all genders, too.”
— Celine Bossart, Wine and Spirits Journalist

“When asked a question they don’t know the answer to, the men in my workplace are more likely to confidently assert an absolutely false answer than admit they don’t have one. The women I work with are more likely to respond with correct information or say, ‘Let me check on that and get back to you.’ For example: My boss recently claimed to know something about a client’s background on a team call. He was wrong; I corrected him. Then he started arguing that he was definitely right. Again: he was not.”
— Jess, 29, Advertising

“I don’t know about what they would stop doing, but I know I’d like more men to start standing up and advocating for others (men and women) when they hear something unflattering or offensive in the office.”
— Terry, 42, Human Resources Supervisor

“MANSPLAINING! Mansplaining is rampant. Here’s an example: I’ve sat through more than one meeting listening to men educate me on what women want and how they make purchase decisions. Even better, most times they were targeting women who were exactly my demographic — age, marital status, education level, city, industry, income, hobbies — yet NONE of it resonated with me. Suggestions were ignored, or worse, brought up by one of them loudly in the next meeting and they all patted each other on the back for thinking of it (aka ‘he-peating’). This is how things like kitten heels end up on shelves.
—Emily, 31, Public Relations

“Stop repeating my ideas as if they were their own. During a meeting, I recommended an idea for how we can fix the motivation problem we’ve been having with our camp counselors. A male coworker told me I had made a very good point. He then repeated the idea to my boss, neglecting to credit me. Then my boss told him that those were great ideas, and he’d love to implement them this summer and see how they work out.”
— Madeline, 20, Teen Program Unit Director

“I am lucky to work with a group of upstanding, respectful and generally woke men (and I’m not just saying that because I’m a salaried employee of this very publication). That said, working with a group of men in a chummy, laid-back environment can be a double-edged sword. I love the old ‘Is a hotdog a sandwich?’ debate as much as the next guy, but sometimes I just want to get in, get out and check things off the to-do list. Plentiful are the moments when we’re in a team meeting and the conversation — commandeered by one of my male compadres — takes a sharp left turn into a totally unrelated, unproductive topic. Call me Type A, call me a buzzkill, but I tend to find myself playing the disciplinarian forced to wrangle the masses back to the topic at hand. And playing babysitter ain’t fun. So guys, let’s try to stay on topic and wrap this meeting up within the 30-minute mark, shall we? Oh, and one other thing … STOP CLIPPING YOUR FINGERNAILS AT YOUR DESK.”
–Megan Duffey, Director of Branded Content, InsideHook

For the rest of the list, click here.

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